Even with a strong economy and the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, President Donald Trump’s poll numbers have remained at historic lows — and according to FiveThirtyEight’s average of poll numbers, Trump has the highest disapproval rating of any president ever at this point in his first term.
G. Elliott Morris, a polling expert who writes for The Economist, has written an analysis showing that American voters no longer correlate the current state of the economy with their approval of the president as they have in the past, and he says that bodes poorly for Trump in 2020.
Morris writes that, given historical trends, Trump’s approval should be around 60 percent given that he’s presiding over an economy that has low unemployment and low inflation. However, the president’s approval ratings are consistently in the low 40s, while polls also show more than half of American voters disapprove of his performance.
“Partisanship now colors Americans’ reading of the economy, as it colors their views on many other things,” he argues. “Polling on behalf of The Economist by YouGov shows that Republicans are four times as optimistic as Democrats about the state of the stock market, which Mr. Trump often cheers on. Liberals complain about high housing costs and low wage growth — never mind that wages are growing more strongly now than towards the end of Mr. Obama’s term.”
In other words, Morris concludes, “it’s not any longer the economy… it’s the partisanship.”
During the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats won the popular vote for the House by more than eight percentage points, and voting totals lined up strongly with Trump’s approval ratings at the time. If that trend holds in 2020, as Morris suggests it could regardless of the state of the economy, Trump will be in position to lose by double digits.